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Buhari vs Mbaka: When friendship turns sour

But Mbaka did not tell the world whether or not God revealed to him how rough and tough Buhari’s administration would be for the average…

On the last night of December 2014, the Founder and Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Rev Fr. Camilus Ejike Mbaka, said God told him that the then President Goodluck Jonathan “was going nowhere” as far as the 2015 presidential election was concerned because Muhammadu Buhari was the incoming “messiah.” The “prophecy” eventually came to pass as Buhari defeated Jonathan in the election.

Fr Mbaka tagged that controversial  sermon: “From Goodluck to Badluck” during which he lampooned Jonathan and his administration, accusing his government of ‘courting corrupt officials.’

But Mbaka did not tell the world whether or not God revealed to him how rough and tough Buhari’s administration would be for the average Nigerian. However, that singular “prophecy” could be said to have made Mbaka the ‘darling’ of Buhari’s government which described him as “a true prophet of God.”

Not long after the pro-Buhari “prophecy,” Mbaka was invited by Buhari to Abuja where they had a discussion and concretized their fraternity. Buhari encouraged Mbaka to continue the way God was leading him.

Ironically, Mbaka’s visit to the Presidency attracted flaks from the larger society, including his Igbo kinsmen and women, particularly the pro-Jonathan folks.

Recall that while giving the prophecy, Mbaka, however, did not stop without leaving a caveat: “I will be the first to cast the first stone if Buhari’s government misbehaves.”

Buhari-Mbaka friendship had continued without blemish for over six years of the president’s administration until Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, terrorism, Fulani herdsmen menace, kidnapping and all manner of crimes in different parts of the country became the order of the day, with the federal government not being able to end the anarchy in the land.

The Igbo have a saying that when evil practice lasts for a year, it automatically becomes a tradition, hence lawlessness appears to have become a part of Nigeria’s culture.

The rate of insecurity in Nigeria has degenerated to an alarming proportion that even the National Assembly members are in panic mode because there are insinuations that Boko Haram terrorists are just 200 kilometres away from Abuja.

Piqued by the worrisome situation, Mbaka made a U-turn and criticized Buhari and his administration, claiming that God had told him the president is no longer the ‘messiah’ that would save the country. The cleric called on him to resign or be impeached by the National Assembly. Buhari, Mbaka said could not fix the country.

Consequently, presidential aide, Mr Femi Adesina, cried out, claiming that Buhari’s government is under threat, while his colleague, Garbu Shehu, recently accused Mbaka of attacking Buhari because he was denied a contract by the Presidency.

Mbaka’s latest “prophecy” on Buhari and his call for his resignation or impeachment seems to have upset the Presidency.

This precipitated the recent Mbaka’s  disappearance and reappearance saga in Enugu, with insinuations that he had been abducted by the Presidency.    One version said that Mbaka purportedly disappeared Tuesday morning, having left his base at the Adoration Ministry in Emene, Enugu to honour an invitation by his boss, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Dr Callistus Onaga at the Bishop’s court, Independence Layout, Enugu.

Mbaka was said to have informed his followers about the invitation and upon reaching there, he also informed them but thereafter, his telephone line reportedly became inaccessible.

Another version said that the DSS operatives wanted to pick Mbaka from his Adoration Ministry at Emene but upon a second thought, they decided to first reach his boss, Bishop Onaga, who took time to explain to them the possible implication of security men storming the Adoration arena to pick Mbaka. But it is yet to be established whether the security operatives – DSS in particular – used Bishop Onaga to reach him for explanations about his latest attack on Mr President.

Recall that it was the DSS operatives that went to a primary school at Emene and reportedly attacked the IPOB members while they were having their usual meeting which led to casualties on both sides. Thus, it was suggested that for the DSS operatives to visit the same Emene on another round of controversy with Fr Mbaka, who commands a crowd in their thousands, would be one move too many.

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that there was a prolonged argument between the security men and Bishop Onaga as to why Mbaka should be taken away and why he should be left alone. At that point, a gentleman’s agreement was said to have been reached to invite Mbaka to the Bishop’s court so that the security men would interact with him and thereafter, either party would go its way.

That was when Bishop Onaga, in the presence of other priests working under him, placed a call  and invited Mbaka to the Bishop’s court, according to a source, who added that when Mbaka got there, in line with the modus operandi of security men, his telephone line was put off.

The source said that if the security men had kept to the verbal agreement reached between them and Bishop Onaga, the dust being raised now would have been averted.  The source added that they insisted on taking Mbaka away but Onaga resisted the move vehemently, basing his argument on the grounds that they had earlier agreed to invite Mbaka to explain himself before the bishop and the security men, after which everybody would depart.

The bishop reportedly told the security men that allowing them to take Mbaka away would mean that he deliberately betrayed him by inviting him and handing him over to security men. He argued that if anything happened to him, how would he explain it to his  members who had already been told that Mbaka was going to honour the Bishop’s invitation?

According to the source, it was another round of heated argument as the security men insisted on compelling Mbaka to go with them.  It was at that stage that the bishop alerted Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on the dangerous development.

The source said that the governor called several relevant authorities for intervention.  He reportedly invited both the security operatives and the clerics to the government House, Enugu, where the matter was resolved and the DSS did not take Mbaka away.

Unaware of ongoing negotiations, Mbaka’s followers, having suspected that Onaga must have handed him over to security men, stormed the Bishop’s court to demand the whereabouts of the priest they fondly call “our daddy.”

The anxiety increased as there was no communication between them and the cleric. Mbaka’s driver was said to have passed the Tuesday night at the Bishop’s court as Mbaka didn’t return again to the Adoration ground at Emene.

The followers numbering up to 1000, marched to Holy Ghost Catholic Cathedral within the Enugu metropolis and destroyed property.  They also vandalized the Bishop’s court.

Meanwhile, spokesman of the DSS, Mr. Peter Afunaya, said that Mbaka was not in their custody. “Rev Fr. Mbaka was not with the DSS. The DSS did not pick him,” he had said in an interview.

Having suspected that the protest might degenerate,  Mbaka suddenly reappeared in the midst of the angry youths. From there, he was driven in a cabriolet to Adoration ground in Emene where he promised to address his followers and the newsmen.

Mbaka stuck to his gun, saying that he was not deterred but was delighted that the truth is hitting the Presidency hard. He claimed that Bishop Onaga wanted to keep him incommunicado for 30 days.

“You allowed the truth to be hidden. Then you started attacking the person who said the truth. You don’t attack the messenger, challenge the truth whether there is insecurity or not, whether there are good hospitals in this country or not. What are you talking about? God has loved us and saved us from the Corona virus and some of our leaders are becoming the Corona virus that we are suffering,” Mbaka  had said.

He added: “As directed by the Holy Spirit, Buhari cannot do it again. He should resign or be impeached as age and health are not on his side any more.”

“Fallacy cannot terrorize my courage. We are working under the law. They have never given me any contract, but I want to reassure you that even if 100 oil blocks are offered to me, that cannot bastardize my prophetic anointing.

“When the Holy Spirit asks me to speak, I will speak out. So, the statement is, let them provide jobs for you. Let them leave my people. They should not allow hunger to kill people. Let them give you something to eat. Let them make our education qualitative.

“Healthy medical facilities are no longer available and the rich are going outside the country to treat themselves and the poor perish here.

“The international community is watching us. The country was named third worst country on Wednesday last week.

“If they want to put it that it was because of a contract, let them come and build the highest university here and begin to mess up, I will still speak. I am speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit. I am not in any political party and not supporting anybody.”

Apparently referring to his purported blessing of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Mbaka said that he was not supporting any terrorist group and would not “allow you to brand my people terrorists because they are not terrorists.”

He added: “It is very simple because as I said, those who are carrying cattle and riffles killing people have not been called terrorists.”

While questioning the rationale behind the branding of IPOB as a terrorist group, Mbaka said: “How can IPOB people who are walking about without a machete or stick be called terrorists? Maybe they are not well informed. They are hungry people. You have to provide a job for them. Engage them and see if they can complain again.”

While also throwing more light on the accusation of contract laid against him by the Presidency, Mbaka admitted that he actually took three men to Aso Rock.

“There are three men that came in to handle insecurity for the country. And they have the gadgets and facilities and that was during the first administration. And they said they would help the administration in containing insecurity to help the country stop insecurity in less than one month.

“And I handed them over to the federal government. I don’t know them but they came to Enugu and pleaded with me to link them to the government.

“Due to the level of insecurity and how Nigeria has been moving oil and recruiting youths in the industry and the issue of insecurity and killings. These are the three people. They rejected their offer. What will I gain from the people that came in for the purpose of securing the country? I don’t even have their contacts,” explained Mbaka, who advised the Presidency and Garba Shehu to “challenge the truth and not the messenger.” He also dismissed Shehu’s allegation as quite childish and laughable.

However, spokesman of the Catholic Diocese, Rev Fr. Ben Achi, said that the church had a procedure in dealing with matters such as Mbaka’s issue.

He added: “No one tells the church what to do in matters like this. It falls within the competence of the ecclesiastical authorities and trust me, the issue is being addressed.”

The Catholic Diocese of Enugu has officially reacted to the invasion of the Bishop’s Court and the Holy Ghost Cathedral Church by Mbaka’s adherents.

The church authority in Enugu has advised the faithful in the Enugu Diocese to pray for atonement, following the desecration of God’s sacred altar by Mbaka’s followers who desecrated Bishop’s Court and part of the Holy Ghost Cathedral.

In a statement  by Bishop Onaga, the church called on all parishes, chaplaincies and religious houses in the Catholic Diocese of Enugu to quickly embark on the prayers.